Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 movie review: Funny in bits, visually entertaining on the whole
There’s something liberating about a superhero film that doesn’t make contrived attempts to lead up to a larger franchise.
The first Guardians of the Galaxy was so enjoyable because it didn’t pander to the Avengers as much as the other films in canon, and also because it didn’t take itself too seriously.
It also had interesting characters and tremendous visuals to elevate it above the rest of the MCU movies. The sequel, predictably titled Volume 2 loses some of the thrilling element of surprise, but still offers satisfyingly giddy, often humorous, giant sized visual entertainment.
Now that you know and have been wowed by all of the characters in Guardians of the Galaxy, director James Gunn was tasked with the most difficult task in scaling the sequel – how does one keep things interesting? This time the Guardians feel like a rag tag bunch of team members that have lived together for a while - and the situation is evenly milked for laughs.
The plot, at least in the first half, becomes a little questionable because there is no immediate threat to the universe. You expect Thanos or Ronin to show up and wage wars but there is no super-villain in sight. Instead, the Guardians are caught up in a firefight with gold colored humanoids called the Sovereigns because Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) steals some batteries from them.
The space battle ends with the Guardians’ ship crash lands on a planet, and like in many Star Trek episodes (including the previous film), the team splits up in different directions.
Things get more interesting from here on, as a mysterious figure named Ego with the shape of Kurt Russell’s face shows up and leads Star Lord (Chris Pratt) and Gamora (Zoe Saldana) to his home planet.
What works, once again, is the pacing despite the two hour twenty minute run time.
There is hardly any room to breathe as the plot leaps from one set up to another, constantly pitting the Guardians in ridiculous situations, the best of which include the unending feud between Gamora and Nebula (Karen Gillan). It always felt like the unscrupulous Nebula and Yondu (Michael Rooker) were underused characters in the first movie, and that’s been rectified in a perfect way this time around.
We finally get to know Star Lord’s origins and the reveal is some of the most emotionally resonant punches Marvel has ever pulled.
The unending stream of wise-ass jokes is well compensated with a surprisingly poignant third act, which is in fact so effective that it elevates the Guardians as a better franchise than the Avengers.
The final scene in the film is the pivotal moment in MCU where you’ll tilt your hearts towards the tragically fun folks who are often recipients of violence, rather than the drab overtly good natured and heroic Avengers. The five post credit scenes offer a fun outlook into where the Guardians’ journey would continue, and the future sure seems exciting.
On the downside the film does feel like ‘more of the same’ particularly in the first half, and the obscene amount of CGI becomes a weary experience seen in 3D.
The beautiful cinematography by Henry Braham is totally desecrated upon by the 3D glasses and it’s about time Marvel took a page from Nolan and focused on the 2D IMAX format rather than forcing audiences to bear this tyranny.
Updated Date: Sep 27, 2017 10:16 AM